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Bargaining over Babies: Theory, Evidence, and Policy Implications

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  • Doepke, Matthias
  • Kindermann, Fabian

Abstract

It takes a woman and a man to make a baby. This fact suggests that for a birth to take place, the parents should first agree on wanting a child. Using newly available data on fertility preferences and outcomes, we show that indeed, babies are likely to arrive only if both parents desire one, and there are many couples who disagree on having babies. We then build a bargaining model of fertility choice and match the model to data from a set of European countries with very low fertility rates. The distribution of the burden of child care between mothers and fathers turns out to be a key determinant of fertility. A policy that lowers the child care burden specifically on mothers can be more than twice as effective at increasing the fertility rate compared to a general child subsidy.

Suggested Citation

  • Doepke, Matthias & Kindermann, Fabian, 2016. "Bargaining over Babies: Theory, Evidence, and Policy Implications," CEPR Discussion Papers 11158, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:11158
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    Cited by:

    1. Doepke, M. & Tertilt, M., 2016. "Families in Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig (ed.),Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 1789-1891, Elsevier.
    2. Farré, Lídia & González, Libertad, 2019. "Does paternity leave reduce fertility?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 172(C), pages 52-66.
    3. Arthur Lewbel & Krishna Pendakur, 2020. "Inefficient Collective Households: Cooperation and Consumption," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 1000, Boston College Department of Economics.
    4. Marcén, Miriam & Molina, José Alberto & Morales, Marina, 2018. "The effect of culture on the fertility decisions of immigrant women in the United States," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 15-28.
    5. Beata Osiewalska, 2018. "Partners’ empowerment and fertility in ten European countries," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 38(49), pages 1495-1534.
    6. Alessandra Voena, 2019. "The Research Agenda: Alessandra Voena on Economics of the family in developed and developing countries," EconomicDynamics Newsletter, Review of Economic Dynamics, vol. 20(1), April.
    7. Klaus Prettner & Holger Strulik, 2017. "Gender equity and the escape from poverty," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 55-74.
    8. Matthias Doepke & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2019. "EconomicDynamics Interview: Matthias Doepke and Fabrizio Zilibotti on Family Economics," EconomicDynamics Newsletter, Review of Economic Dynamics, vol. 20(1), April.
    9. Bar, Michael & Hazan, Moshe & Leukhina, Oksana & Weiss, David & Zoabi, Hosny, 2017. "Is The Market Pronatalist? Inequality, Differential Fertility, and Growth Revisited," CEPR Discussion Papers 12376, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Michael Bar & Moshe Hazan & Oksana Leukhina & David Weiss & Hosny Zoabi, 2018. "Why did rich families increase their fertility? Inequality and marketization of child care," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 23(4), pages 427-463, December.
    11. Virginia Sanchez Marcos & Ezgi Kaya & Nezih Guner, 2017. "Labor Market Frictions and Lowest Low Fertility," 2017 Meeting Papers 1015, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    12. Beata Osiewalska, 2017. "Childlessness and fertility by couples' educational gender (in)equality in Austria, Bulgaria, and France," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 37(12), pages 325-362.
    13. Manuel Santos Silva & Stephan Klasen, 2018. "Gender Inequality as a Barrier to Economic Growth: a Review of the Theoretical Literature," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 252, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    14. Lehmann-Hasemeyer, Sibylle H. & Prettner, Klaus & Tscheuschner, Paul, 2020. "The scientific revolution and its role in the transition to sustained economic growth," Hohenheim Discussion Papers in Business, Economics and Social Sciences 06-2020, University of Hohenheim, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences.
    15. Matthias Doepke & Michèle Tertilt, 2018. "Women's Empowerment, the Gender Gap in Desired Fertility, and Fertility Outcomes in Developing Countries," AEA Papers and Proceedings, American Economic Association, vol. 108, pages 358-362, May.
    16. Lídia Farré & Libertad González, 2017. "The Effects of Paternity Leave on Fertility and Labor Market Outcomes," Working Papers 978, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    17. Akira Yakita, 2018. "Fertility and education decisions and child-care policy effects in a Nash-bargaining family model," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 31(4), pages 1177-1201, October.
    18. Titan Alon & Matthias Doepke & Jane Olmstead-Rumsey & Michèle Tertilt, 2020. "The Impact of COVID-19 on Gender Equality," CRC TR 224 Discussion Paper Series crctr224_2020_163, University of Bonn and University of Mannheim, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bargaining; Child Care; Fertility;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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